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Mike Huckabee has been trying to get one more debate with John McCain ever since Mitt Romney quit the Republican presidential contest, and it appears that the moment of truth has arrived. A debate which would be hosted by the Values Voter organization has been scheduled for March 3rd at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. Invitations have been extended to John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul.  Late yesterday (February 27) Huckabee’s campaign enthusiastically accepted the invitation. Ron Paul will no doubt do the same.

Will John McCain participate? Doing so may hurt him, considering that Huckabee is a magnificent debater while McCain is merely above average. But refusing to do so would reflect badly on a candidate who likes to run on a reputation for honor and forthrightness. McCain finds himself between a rock and a populist place.


Each candidate’s answer is paraphrased below, followed by my grade.

Mitt Romney: Ten thousand times yes!  How could he not?  I am the new incarnation of Ronald Reagan.  On every issue I am his twin brother from another mother.  How many times can I say the name Ronald Reagan in answering this one question?  Even where there are issues that he never had to deal with, were he alive today, Ronald Reagan would agree with me.  And even on amnesty, which he supported, he would agree with with my opposition to that practice today.  No one can resist my hypnotic charm, even including Ronald Reagan.

Grade: C+ Only his audacity redeems this wretched glory grab by Romney.  If you’re going to claim the endorsement of a dead man, maybe it’s a good thing to do so with enthusiasm.

John McCain: Ronald Reagan would have hated Mitt Romney.  President Reagan was a man of principle, unlike Governor Romney.  Always stuck with his principles, as I do.  In fact President Reagan does endorse me, because I have always been a faithful and dependable footsoldier in his revolutionary army.

Grade: C  McCain attempts to kneecap his rival and gets mixed results.  His answer was in turns petty and introspective, and he ended up making Romney look one inch shorter, while he made himself look two inches shorter.

Ron Paul: As a matter of fact he did endorse me; he campaigned for me in 1978.  I don’t know who he would endorse.  Gold standard.  Financial genius.  Inflation.  Dollar weak on the international market.  Doom!

Grade: B  Paul made a couple of salient points and managed to highlight his own long career in the House of Representatives, then slipped back into normal Ron Paul mode and droned for another minute or two without saying anything.

Mike Huckabee: I wish!  But who really knows?  Anyway, let me endorse Ronald Reagan.  Reagan was a great president because he inspired Americans.  I hope I’m worthy of his respect and endorsement.  Hey, Nancy – I see you there in the front row.  *wink*

Grade: B+  Huckabee’s answer was humble and respectful, but he seemed to recognize that he had knocked it out of the park and got a little cute at the end.

At this time (late January 2008) the Republican field has been narrowed to five more or less serious and viable candidates for president.  Speculation is going to rev up soon regarding who should be considered for the position of vice president.  Here’s my list of those who won’t (first) and those who might (second) be chosen for the party’s Veep nomiation.

Keep in mind that a candidate’s appearance on this list says nothing about his viability in the ongoing race.

First, those who absolutely won’t be selected:

  1. John McCain – At age 72 he’s too old, he’s too proud, and he has more power and prestige as a senator than he’d ever have as the Vice President.
  2. Rudy Giuliani – Too liberal, too combative, too proud. Giuliani wouldn’t enhance the ticket as a #2 for anybody.
  3. Mitt Romney – I’m pretty sure the other Republicans all hate his guts, except for maybe Fred Thompson, who is out the door and and won’t be needing him.
  4. Ron Paul – too flakey and too high negatives, plus a past that includes some really weird newsletters published under his byline.


Secondly, here’s a list of good Veep candidates. This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive; these are just my favorites.

  1. Mike Huckabee – If he’s unsuccessful in his run for Prexy, Huckabee (who is only 52 years old and will most certainly run again) would benefit from 4-8 years as Veep. Throw in the fact that he’s an excellent debater and a genuine Southern conservative, and he makes an attractive #2 for any Yankee.
  2. Tommy Thompson – has national ambitions, was a successful and popular Republican governor in Wisconsin, and is a policy expert in a variety of areas.
  3. Tim Pawlenty – a young, handsome, popular, born-again, conservative Republican governor in the most liberal of midwestern states (Minnesota), Pawlenty is a gifted campaigner and has been noticed nationally for his success in balancing the Minnesota budget when it was badly in the red, as well as for being national co-chair of McCain’s campaign.
  4. Ed Schafer – currently being confirmed as the new Ag Sec, former North Dakota governor Schafer is an articulate and affable politician with a squeaky clean image and a gift for compromise.
  5. Lindsay Graham – This senator from South Carolina is a thoughtful, rational, soft-spoken conservative with excellent credentials. Graham is respected throughout the party, and is on good terms with both fiscal and social conservatives.

Here are some things to look for in tonight’s Republican debate.  Watch and see how right or wrong I am.

  • Everyone will talk a lot about the US economy
  • Mike Huckabee will be asked at least two questions about his faith.
  • John McCain will insult Willard “Mitt” Romney in a seemingly subtle way that really isn’t very subtle, if you think about it.
  • Mitt Romney will lie about someone else’s record.
  • Ron Paul’s answer to at least one question will include the words, “I mean come on!” as well as a fit of quacking and stuttering.
  • Rudy Giuliani will cackle hysterically at one or more of Huckabee’s quips, because he can’t help himself.
  • Huckabee will shine in this debate, and he always does.  His fundraising will skyrocket for the next three days or so, his poll numbers (both in Florida and nationally) will spike 5-10 points in the next few days.

Huck -vs- Paul

This graph is the creation and property of and is used here without permission.

If you follow politics, late you’ve heard a lot of Republican candidates for president bemoaning so-called “personal attacks” against them.  I’m wondering whether anyone has undertaken to define exactly what a personal attack is.

A personal attack, it seems to me, must be personal in nature – that is, names have to be named.  It would help if it wasn’t issues-oriented, but directed at some nonsensical personal attribute or quirk.  And if you listen to the victims, apparently they’re all lies and half-truths.

Here are some suggested personal attacks which I’m sure haven’t been advanced by any candidates.  Please note that I have tried to keep these blurbs in character for the speaker – for instance, Mike Huckabee’s are generally humorous or religious in nature, John McCain’s often refer to national defense or legislative matters, and Mitt Romney’s tend to be unfair or deceptive.

  • Giuliani against Huckabee: “Mike Huckabee’s feet stink.  It’s from too much running.  His feet, they really a stink.  He should be prosecuted for those stinky feet.  Trust me, I’m a lawyer.”
  • Giuliani against McCain: “John McCain is a good man, but he wasn’t born in the USA.  He was born in the Panama Canal zone, which makes him ineligible to be president.  That’s right, he isn’t a natural-born citizen.  Trust me, I’m a lawyer.”
  • Giuliani against Romney: “Mitt Romney has money hidden offshore in banks in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.  Lots of money.  My investigators could have written a book on the guy.  In fact they did!  They did write a book about Mitt Romney’s business dealings.  I’ll have it published after I’m elected.  Trust me, I’m a lawyer.”
  • Giuliani against Thompson: “Fred Thompson is bald, he has a big nose, and his socks don’t match.  Look, a man who can’t match his socks should not be the President of the United States of America.”
  • Huckabee against Giuliani: “After I’m elected Rudy can work in the White House kitchen.  He’ll work the night shift.  Then I can call him at night, wake ‘im up and say, ‘Hey Rudy, make me some of that great Flatbush Italian spaghetti!'”
  • Huckabee against McCain: “I think Senator McCain is a great American hero.  Let’s give the man a statue, and let’s do it quickly, before he dies of old age.”
  • Huckabee against Romney: “Don’t Mormons wear magic underwear?  Not that I would know anything about that.”
  • Huckabee against Thompson: “I think Fred needs some Metamucil, I think it would help a lot…he was in a bad mood last night.”  (oops – my bad, he actually said this after the Myrtle Beach, SC debate!)
  • McCain against Giuliani: Rudy Giuliani was negligent in failing to prevent the 9-11 attacks.  My friends, I would have prevented those attacks, I would have re-hijacked and landed those aircraft myself if need be.”
  • McCain against Huckabee: “I defer to Mike Huckabee in all matters.  The truth is, my friends, he should be president, not me.”
  • McCain against Romney: “My friends, although I have great confidence in Governor Romney to be a just and thoughtful and honorable leader should you elect him, I feel it’s my duty now to inform you that he’s a dirty little rat fink who lucked out of the military draft for Viet Nam.  And his first name is Willard.  Ha-ha!”
  • McCain against Thompson: “Fred wasn’t a good actor, couldn’t remember his lines, has an ugly wrinkly face.  A genuine Hollywood reject.  My friends, I won’t lie to you – I’m old and my face is wrinkled, but I can remember my lines.  Thank you!”
  • Romney against Giuliani: “An Eye-talian garlic-eater in the White House?  I should think not!
  • Romney against Huckabee: “Mike Huckabee isn’t tall enough or tan enough to be President of the United States of America.
  • Romney against McCain: “Senator McCain, a former US Navy officer, failed to report for duty every day from October 1967 until January 1973.”
  • Romney against Thompson: “On May 19th of 1972 Fred Thompson’s limosine ran over a puppy while transitting to pick Mr Thompson up at the airport.  It was a cute, brown and white puppy.  Is this the kind of conduct we expect from the President of the United States of America?” 
  • Thompson against Giuliani: “What…what law school…did the man attend?  Ah attended Vanderbilt.  The Yankee…he might could learn something…where’s my cue card?  He might could…learn something…from Vanderbilt Yewniversity. 
  • Thompson against Huckabee: “Ah grew up poorer than Mike Huckabee.  Ah can out-poor any of ’em.” (oops, he actually did say this!)
  • Thompson against McCain: “We have a saying here in the South, I learned it from Mike Huckabee – ‘If you cain’t fix it with duct tape and WD-40, boy, it cain’t be fixed.  That man is held together, Ah’m tellin you, by duct tape.  And he could shore use some WD-40.”
  • Thompson against Romney: “Say something bad about Romney?  No sir, I need him to stay in the race, to keep running negative ads about Huckabee!”

 Bonus Contest – you submit them, I’ll judge them:

  • Ron Paul against anyone: _________
  • Anyone against Ron Paul: _________

Here are my thoughts on the candidates’ performances in last night’s debate in New Hampshire:

Rudy Giuliani repeatedly underscores his history of public service, pointing out that he knows law enforcement and has been a successful chief executive.  Thank goodness he didn’t dwell on 9/11.  Rudy is a fantastic public speaker, but these debates aren’t great for him because he isn’t good extemporaneously.

Mike Huckabee starts out shaky, the words aren’t coming as easily as they usually do.  Makes points by citing the Declaration of Independence as the foundation of our country and our freedoms.  “Anytime you penalize productivity, it’s counterintuitive to an economy.”  Not exactly a revelation, but try to say it three times fast.  Why should we be energy independent?  Because “every time we swipe a credit card at a gas pump…” we’re supporting foreign terrorists.

John McCain put a dent in Romney by telling him “You can spend your entire fortune on attack ads, that won’t make your attacks true.”  Did well when asked for the philosophical underpinnings that will guide how he governs, recalling the oath he took when he arrived at the Naval Academy at age 17.  This answer accomplishes two things: first, it reminds people of his military service.  Secondly, it points out that almost his entire adult life has been spent as a public servant.  There are questions about McCain’s age, but tonight he seems very vital and it’s easy to forget he’s in his 70s.

Ron Paul may be right about returning to the gold standard – I’m no economist, but it doesn’t sound practical to me.  Paul says he thinks that young people support him because they’re excited about “sensible monetary policy.”  Hmmm.  He has passion, but he lacks the ability to express himself effectively.  And he still quacks.

Mitt Romney was more articulate in spurts, but also combative and obnoxious for extended periods.  Strangely, Romney at one point objected pointedly to criticism of pharmaceutical companies, “don’t make them the bad guys.”  This from a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Made sour faces, even looked pretty pissed off at McCain and Huckabee.  It was bad form and in doing so he gave away the gains he was making.

Fred Thompson scores with his candid rejection of a “windfall tax” on oil companies.  He vociferously supports diversity in our energy sources, given the international political climate it’s smart to support this position as loudly as possible.  Thompson’s got to shake the “lazy” label, and did a much better job of looking alive tonight.  I think he helped himself more than any other candidate.

Exchange of the night:

Romney: “Don’t try to characterize my position…”

Huckabee: “Which one?”

(audience laughs as Romney glowers)

Big Winner:

Fred Thompson

Finishing order:

Fred Thompson

John McCain

Mike Huckabee

Mitt Romney

Rudy Giuliani

Ron Paul

The Republican presidential candidate Congressman Dr. Ron Paul was on Meet the Press (NBC) on Sunday, December 23 where he refused to rule out an independent or 3rd-party run for president.

It has been noted here at Righty Loosey that Ron Paul has a vast fortune in political contributions that he is sitting on, refusing to spend anything in competition against other Republicans.  Tim Russert pressed Paul to rule out a non-Republican run for president and Paul declined to do so, insisting that he deserves “one wiggle now and then.”

In the same appearance the alleged Republican from Texas also decried the Civil War as unnecessary, saying that the federal government should have bought the slaves and released them, failing to recognize that such a policy would have been opposed both at the federal level and at the local level, and that only a change in the Constitution could have forced private parties to comply with such a program.  Congressman Paul also failed to address the rights of the slaves, and the fact that they would have continued to live and die in bondage while politicians argued the finer points of the Ron Paul Doctrine.  That doesn’t sound very libertarian to me.

Ron Paul looks more and more like a flake every time I check him out.  But don’t take my word for it – you have a computer, do the research yourself!

If the fundraising numbers reported at can be believed *, the Ron Paul presidential campaign has raised over $18 million in the 4th quarter of 2007.  But if the numbers being reported at can be believed **, the campaign isn’t spending that money trying to win the Republican nomination for president in 2008.  The campaign isn’t even spending money on commercials in New Hampshire, the small state with an independent streak and an affinity for political mavericks, the very place that most people believe is his best chance for a respectable showing.

The most logical explanation for the Paul campaign’s failure to even attempt to compete in the Republican caucuses and primaries is that he’s saving his money for later.  If Paul switches parties later and runs as a Libertarian or other small-party candidate, or even as an independent, that money will come in very handy.

That’s why I believe that it’s inevitable, Ron Paul will leave the Republican Party and run as an independent or as a 3rd-party candidate.

Doctor Ron Paul, a Republican running for his party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States in 2008, is a thoughtless, intemperate loudmouth.  Asked about Mike Huckabee’s recent commercial featuring a Christmas tree and a notorious bookshelf (which inexplicably included intersecting horizontal and vertical lines), Paul couldn’t resist reciting a quote about fascism and religion that is often incorrectly attributed to Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a Bible.”  The statement speaks for itself and requires no further commentary from me.

The thing that really grabbed my attention, with regard to this story, is the response of Doctor Paul’s staff and supporters.

The candidate himself has refused to apologize for his obnoxious remark, and his campaign staff have followed his lead.  His supporters, a nutty bunch in the best of times, seem thrilled at the opportunity to attack Huckabee, whose success drives them absolutely buggy.

That’s another interesting aspect of this campaign season, by the way.  Ron Paul’s campaign has received over $18,000,000 in donations in the 4th quarter of 2007, yet he has barely cracked 5% support among Republicans.  Huckabee, by contrast, has raised less than $5,000,000 in the 4th quarter, and yet his support has been hovering just over 20%.  Raise this subject with a Ron Paul supporter and watch the sparks fly – they come unhinged.  Polling in the US is a racket!  The professional pollsters are conspiring to hold Ron Paul back!  You can’t trust those numbers – they’re being cooked.  All joking aside, it’s very interesting to me that Paul supporters believe the unscientific, user-driven polls that they can pack, but they think the scientific polls that they can’t influence are crooked.